The Design Principles of 3D-Virtual Reality Learning Environment (3D-VRLE) in Science Education

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Instructional and Learning Technologies, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-khodh, Oman

2 Department of Instructional and Learning Technologies, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khodh, Oman


Background: 3D-Virtual Reality Learning Environments (3D-VRLEs) have proven effective in stimulating student engagement in teaching and learning processes. However, some principles should be considered before introducing and implementing these learning environments in science education. This paper aims to document the principles that guide the design and development of the 3D-VRLE in science education and to draw the implications for the Omani educational context. Methods: A design-based research (DBR) methodology was conducted to gather data using two instruments: literature review and semi-structured interviews. One specialist developer and two Subject Matter Experts were selected for interviews using purposeful sampling. The in-person interviews consisted of seven questions and a three-hour discussion. The questions were centered on the technological features of 3D-VRLE applications, the instructional design process used to develop these educational applications, and the design principles used in their development. Keywords used for the literature review included biology, physics, chemistry, science, DBR, 3D-virtual reality, lab, and learning environment. Inductive thematic analysis was used as a technique for analyzing the interview data. Results: The findings pointed to a systematic and planned design process for 3D-VRLE in accordance with the ADDIE model. It was found that the design principles of the 3D-VRLE should include authentic and instructionally grounded systems, a collaborative and motivating environment, and student-centered instruction. Conclusion: 3D-VRLEs may have significant implications for the teaching of science in terms of the physical arrangement of classrooms, the way the teacher delivers the topic, the number of students in the classroom, and the type of technology that needs to be adopted in schools. This study presented the blueprints required by Omani science curriculum designers for the design/development of 3D-VRLE. This allows them to take the initiative in design and production of relevant learning materials and products and use them effectively in the educational context of Oman.


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